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NutterButter

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Proud Parent
Jan 24, 2013
879
I thought I'd give everyone an update on my DD's gymnastics journey. There are tons of new people in recent months, but long timers will know that I've been around for many years.

For newer folks who may not know my DD's story - she started 'late' in 5th grade as an Xcel Silver then the following year switched to JO. She more or less progressed at one level/year until high school where she was slowed down by injury and fears. She has always been a cautious gymnast and for many years, I thought this would eventually hinder her progress but she always managed to pull through. She had a multiple back stress fractures her sophomore year and made a successful comeback from that. Then her junior year her coach was involved in a not-so-good incident and landed himself of the USAG permanently ineligible coaching list. You can imagine the toll that took on her (and her team) but she persevered and qualified to Westerns. At the end of her junior year she decided to try for D3 gymnastics and fell in love with a school, team and coach on the East Coast. She was hoping for a 'Wow' senior year to finish off her JO experience before heading to college only to be stopped by a new almost stress fracture and then COVID. She continued training though 2020 and was looking forward to D3 gymnastics.

Her freshman year was 'meh' due to COVID (no competitions and remote only for the fall semester). Sophomore year was looking promising, until it wasn't. She had a significant ankle injury last January which had all the looks of an Achilles injury but was really something else that wouldn't fully get diagnosed until mid-summer. She's now looking at ankle reconstruction surgery in December. Needless to say...as a vault/floor specialist this was devasting and she officially retired during the summer. I always thought her back would do her in but in the end it was her ankle a result of one unlucky injury and years of sprains that took a big toll over time.

The first couple weeks after she retired were hard then the first couple weeks at school were also hard as she adjusted to life as a 'NARP' ( this is actually word she says is widely used...Non-Athlete, Regular Person) while her now former teammates started with practices and tryouts. She's doing good now! Still misses gymnastics but is filling her time and setting different academic and professional goals for herself that were not possible being a student athlete.

I still plan to be around on here but wanted to update everyone who was aware of my DD's journey. Also, I've learned so much over the years from the parents and coaches here that I'd like to be able to pay it back if anyone finds my experience helpful. So much of my DDs journey has been atypical with her late start, injuries and even making it to a college team but at the same time her journey is the same as everyone else because it's all so individualized.
 

josie55

Proud Parent
Jul 19, 2015
352
Thank you for the update, @NutterButter! As one who has been around here a while as well (though not quite as long as you) I've noticed that there are more stories of things not quite working out than stories of those that do, but as long as we expand our views about what "working out" and "success" mean, then my conclusion can be flipped. I'm happy that your daughter was able to enjoy so much success in the sport - making it onto a college team is a huge accomplishment! Sending her best wishes as a NARP and you as a MOANARP! :)
 

gymgal

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Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,655
So glad she has found her groove again! Hopefully her surgery will heal it all so that she doesn't have future problems. If you feel comfortable, could you share what they found was happening with the ankle (you can DM if more comfortable with that). DD has had ongoing ankle issues the past two years with not much answers.

Yes, NARP is used pretty regularly at some schools. DDs school has something like a 65% athletic participation rate (club and collegiate) and NARP is definitely a term there.
 
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Flippinmom

Proud Parent
Mar 11, 2022
33
I’m new here and truly appreciate the advice from the experienced parents, it’s invaluable to new gym parents like me.

Sounds like your daughter had quite a journey! Best of luck to her, with that much determination she can achieve anything!
 
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NutterButter

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jan 24, 2013
879
@gymgal - My DD's ankle turned out to be 3 things which made for a much bigger issue. First, she had an injury in January after a roundoff on a tumbling pass. Felt a pop in her lower ankle region and couldn't bear weigh on the affected foot. Classic presentation of Achilles rupture, but nope! She had an ultrasound and MRI while at school which confirmed no rupture so she was booted and did PT for the rest of the semester. We were both very frustrated that she wasn't getting better so when she got home she went to our big city ortho and started seeing a PT who is also a USAG PT. The PT eventually started suspecting that the issue was not the Achilles but the plantaris muscle/tendon. Not everyone has a plantaris muscle and of those who do, the way the tendon attaches to the heel varies from person to person in terms of # of attachment points and location of where it attaches. A 2nd MRI and 2nd consult with our local ankle specialist confirmed a plantaris injury. She likely ruptured it in January and the recommended solution is surgery.

Second, my DD has an extra bone in her ankle. This is pretty common in people and initially they didn't think this was the source of the pain because she has never had pain in that location before but once they figured out the root of the problem was the plantaris, it's likely that the tendon was sometimes 'catching' on the extra bone. This bone will be removed when she has the surgery.

Third, all of my DDs sprains over the years have been on her left foot. One or two per year which seemed to resolve within a few weeks. Although she never needed to tape regularly, she did find her ankle was stiffer since starting college. I don't do Dr-speak but the tendons on her sides are 'very unstable'. My suspicion is that my DDs ankle weakened significantly during the months she was booted which just exacerbated the cumulative wear and tear over the years. These tendons will be cleaned up too.
 
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